The Times They Are a-Changin’

Bob Dylan, The Times they are a-changin'In my first ‘re-launch’ post for this blog at the end of March, I mentioned that my career has been a bit “fluid” and that I’ve spent more than a little time during the last x-number of years working to drum-up contract business. I also wrote that I’d dig a little deeper into that topic later.

Doing so has proven to be difficult.

You see, I’ve been a writer and marketing professional for somewhere in the neighborhood of thirteen years. I’ve worked with and for some truly amazing people, produced some fairly solid work, and had more than a little fun in the process.

That trajectory, however, changed in February of this year.

And while I very much want to get into the events that preceded that change, they are, by and large, marked by depression, anxiety, and frustration.

This post, on the other hand, should be one of celebration. As such, I’ll set aside all the other topics that I’ve had such trouble capturing on the page and focus instead only on the good news.

I have a new job.

Let me repeat that – I have a new jobby-job – and it’s awesome.

It’s also different. After thirteen-plus years as a Content Marketer, I’m now in a small sales team at a very big technology company. Obviously, more to follow. For now, I’ll leave you with the video my new (also awesome) boss sent me a couple of days before I started. Good times ahead…




My first speaking gig

Last week went by about (snap) that fast. Sure, it was busy at work – when is it not – but Tuesday afternoon I slipped out of my day-to-day and boogied my way (via United Airways and damn them times ten for now charging for checked bags) to do something I’d been both excited about and dreading for more than a month.

My first speaking gig.

A little back-story: one of the things I do at work is manage our Online events. That’s just a dressed-up way of saying webinars, but it’s a gig that takes more than a bit of thinking and one that I genuinely get quite a bit of pleasure from doing. At any rate, our technology provider (the guys that handle the back-end of our events) invited me to join them on a panel at the Marketing Profs Digital Mixer in Chicago and talk about how we use webinars to capture high-quality leads and promote the actual events using social media. 

In a word, awesome.

I was on a panel with two other people, so there was very little stress once things got rolling. It helped that I made the audience laugh about 10 seconds in, but as this was my first time getting up in front of a group of people and speaking there was a little apprehension going in.

I could produce quite a few paragraphs about the experience, but I’ll sum it up briefly. I met absolutely great people (see here and here), the panel went swimmingly (see the review and comments here) and I’m, to use the technical terms, totally stoked to do this again.


Marketing, poetry, and a righteous Virgo

sculptureWhen it comes to music, over the years I’ve traditionally gravitated towards female artists. Not sure what it is. Of course there are the exceptions – I’m always up for a playlist of Iron and Wine, Depeche Mode, or Silversun Pickups – but for the most part women vocalists seem to resonate with me in a way I can’t quite explain.

Apparently, I like women writers, too.

There’s a site I try and visit a few times a week, especially on Thursday, under the handle of Communicatrix. The author of this blog is a lovely writer named Colleen Wainwright, and I very much encourage you to check her out if you get a few minutes. 

Okay, check her outmight be inappropriate, but you should at the very least read her blog. Seriously.

In addition to serving up thoughtful, funny, and relevant posts, she’s also a complete freakin’ joy to read. No kidding. Side note – jumping around her site this morning I stumbled across something (an older post that’s absolutely, serendipitously, perfect for a situation that’s going on right now in my life) that I imaigine I’ll be writing about soon. But that’s for later.

For now, know this: every Thursday she posts a poem. The topics vary, but the writing is ALWAYS well worth you time. Last week’s poem dealt with Marketing (what pays my bills) and one verse had me nodding my head and smiling. And even though we markters aren’t always successfull at this, her message was right on point.

is the truth of you,
into the language of them:
in the room
on the page
over the air.

You see, it’s when the truth shifts to messages or ads filled with what we marketers think you want the truth to be that we find ourselves in trouble. And it happens all too often.

Photo by Peter Rivera

Models, lightsabers, and lingerie

Just another reason why I love Twitter. Sorry about the Star Wars theme, but I found this mock-commercial from a post by Guy Kawaski and just had to share. And while two ladies fighting with lightsabers pretty much rules, a line from the bloke at the bar near the end spot had me cracking up…

Seven things…part two

Assuming part one didn’t bore you to tears, here’s part two…

My first duty assignment in the Marines was with the 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Camp Hansen, Okinawa. It was at that unit I learned, thanks to a large block of the substance thrown into my chest, that C4 is one of the more stable explosives. For anyone whose familiarity with Okinawa ends with Karate Kid, it’s an island, a prefecture (state) of Japan, and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I’ve often considered going back as a civilian and spending a couple of weeks getting reacquainted. If for no other reason, in a little hole-in-the-wall kitchen called “Mama’s Cooking,” you’ll find absolute bliss in a bowl: Taco Fried Rice with Cheese.

After the Marines I worked my way through college bartending and, in addition to my coursework,  learned the difference between ale and a pilsner, the proper use of a Muddler, and the art of the thirty second conversation. Far too many stories, too many interactions, too many moments, to try and choose one that stands out here. Maybe a series of posts another day if anyone’s interested. Instead, I have a question. This occured easily twice a week and in all the years behind the bar I never came up with a good explanation. Just what the hell prompts people to have sex in the bathroom?

After graduation I had some truly great clients as a freelance writer, but without doubt the darkest, most grueling experience during those years was developing a campaign of print ads for a local funeral home. No kidding. I’m an immersion kind of writer when it comes to advertising. Meaning, I try to learn as much as I can about the company, product, service, and so on that I’m writing about. And having that kind of information rolling around in my head for months was just plain rough. Add to that the almost weekly on-site client meetings and I don’t think I’ve ever been as grateful to see a job finished.

As a writer, I have the good fortune to have  job that’s challenging, pays a decent wage, and I love to do. But the reality is that in many ways, it’s still a job. That’s part of the reason for this blog, by the bye – it gives me the opportunity to stretch and have fun with writing in ways I just can’t do at work.

But when I really want to get creative and shake off the cobwebs I actually shut the computer down. Instead, I stand up, change clothes, then go out to the garage. And build things. Taking a few pieces of oak and shaping and molding and coming away with a piece of furniture friggin’ rules. The picture below (an Amish style step stool) is the current project. A little more sanding and  some finish work and she’ll be good to go.


Right. So that’s seven things you may or may not have known about me. Now, according to the MEME, I’m supposed to give you the opportunity to learn seven things about seven other folks. The problem there is I just don’t know 7 bloggers who haven’t already participated. So, four will have to suffice. What the list lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality.

Sarah – What’s on my mind
Designer extraordinaire, Sarah is one of those people who does a great job of mixing professional insights with personal stories, and does so with a sweetness that’s decidedly hers.

Dan – Post Thirty Post
Fairly new to blogging, Dan still knows how to turn a phrase and bring a smile to my face. He’s an old friend, a fellow UT grad, and one of the infamous Thursday Night Boys. I look forward to seeing how his blog evolves.

Rob – Rob Lifford
A former Hooverite, Rob is sharp as a tack and always provides great fodder for thinking. From what’s going on in the industry to what’s happening in the economy, Rob likes to keep us on our toes.

Jennifer – Jenamonkey
Jennifer is one of those ladies you just can’t help but admire. Passionate, driven, and always looking for an adventure, Jennifer’s blog is a glimpse into the life of a wicked-smart woman who squeezes the tasty goodness from life. And devours it.

I am not left-handed…

inigo_montoyaWith a title like, The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misued Words, I couldn’t help but check it out. Copyblogger is a great site to poke around for bits of writing wisdom and this article is worth checking out if you have a few minutes…

Can I fluff your ice, part two

Just in case you thought I was suffering from a Vegas/Cabernet delusion, I offer the following: